Mark Lee and Aniu – my type of people because we act, write and direct our own movies,” he enthused. “I also feel that it’s a nice collaboration between Malaysia and Singapore. We don’t have problems with each other. Only the politicians do.”
Afdlin was at first worried about committing himself to Homecoming due to his own projects.
Fortunately for him, he is only required to work a short period for the movie, plus “they are kind enough to work around my schedule”.
In Homecoming, Afdlin plays the Malaysian taxi driver hired by Neo and Aniu’s characters to ferry them home when their bus breaks down.
“I’ve told them that the last thing I want to do is to be a token Malay role in a Chinese movie,” he said. “I want people to remember my role in the movie. So they’ve given me a few lines in Mandarin.”
Do expect Afdlin to enunciate his Mandarin words perfectly because he did study a bit of the language before. “I went to a Chinese kindergarten when I was living with my grandma in Singapore,” said the father of three girls as he recalled the halcyon days of growing up in Johor Baru and Singapore.
Given his ability to speak Mandarin and Tamil (which he recently picked up for his role in Appalam), Afdlin is the real deal for 1Malaysia. “ Bolehlah cakap Tamil sikit (I can speak a little Tamil),” he laughed. “With one Malay movie, one Tamil movie and now a Chinese movie in the works, I’ve filled my 1Malaysia quota this year.”
Afdlin Shauki says a few lines in Mandarin, in Homecoming.